Oedipus is the most widely known of all Sophocles’ plays. This is primarily because of the psychological concept of the “Oedipal Complex” that Sigmund Freud named for the play’s protagonist, also know as an Oedipus Complex. It posits that all men subconsciously seek to kill their father and marry their mother. After hearing his prophesied fate was to kill his father and then marry is mother, Oedipus tried everything to ensure that this very thing did not happen. However, the very actions taken to avoid this fate led him to fulfill the prophecy.
Oedipus Rex Three-Act Structure | Oedipus Rex Summary
A terrible plague is upon Thebes, so Oedipus sends Creon to oracle at Delphi to get answers. He finds out that they only way to lift the curse is by expelling the former king's murderer.
Wanting to hear the prophecy for himself, Oedipus summons the blind prophet, Tiresias, who declares Oedipus himself is the killer. In disbelief, he goes home to question his wife, a messenger, and others to uncover the truth.
Jocasta and Oedipus both realize that the prophecy is true. Jocasta is Oedipus's mother, and he has murdered his father, Laius. After this realization, Jocasta hangs herself and Oedipus stabs his eyes out. He leaves Creon in charge and exiles himself.